This week sees the release of Marvel’s latest Netflix series – Iron Fist, the final member of the upcoming series – The Defenders.
It hasn’t even been released yet, but already the reviews for Iron Fist aren’t looking too good.
Hopefully the critics have gotten it wrong. We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, who is this Iron Fist guy anyway?
Iron Fist was created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Gil Kane and first appeared in Marvel Premiere #15 in 1974.
This was one of Marvel’s attempts to cash in on the martial arts zeitgeist of the time, just a year after the release of Enter the Dragon, David Carradine was chopping and kicking in TV series Kung Fu and Carl Douglas was topping the music charts with that horribly-catchy Kung Fu Fighting.
If that song doesn’t make it into the Netflix series, then someone should probably be fired. On the whole, people were going crazy for all things martial-arts in the seventies, and thus a new superhero was born.
Who is Iron Fist?
Firstly, Iron Fist isn’t just the name of his Netflix series, but more of a special power that can be wielded by one being at a time. It’s also a sort of a title that one earns. Like being the Ghost Rider, Sorcerer Supreme or leader of the opposition.
Danny Rand’s backstory is not entirely different to a lot of other superheroes out there. His parents died when he was young, leaving him with the family business and a fairly large disposable income. Not entirely unlike DC’s Green Arrow and Batman. However, rather than dressing like Robin Hood or donning a bat costume, Rand took the slightly more mystical route to becoming a superhero.
Brace yourself for some hard-to-pronounce names and locales…
Whilst on an expedition (along with his parents and father’s business partner) to find the legendary city of K’un-Lun, a young Danny Rand witnesses the death of his parents. The cause of their death was a mixture of accident, betrayal and wolf attack. All-in-all, it was one of those holidays that just went from bad to worse, and today would have probably led to a very negative review on TripAdvisor.
Still, determined not to let the death of his parents ruin what could be a nice holiday in the mystic mountain range, young Danny decides to hang around and take in some of the local culture. The leader of K’un-Lun – a guy named Yu-Ti – advised Rand to study martial arts under the tutelage of Lei Kung. Thinking it wise to listen to a man who wears a bag on his head, Danny does as he’s told and learns to be a kickass Kung fu fighting kind of guy. Eventually, he masters the art of kicking and punching, making Jackie Chan look like Jackie Stallone, and takes on the challenge of fighting an immortal dragon – Shou-Lao The Undying – who happened to be the Iron Fist at the time.
Naturally, our hero defeats the immortal dragon and snatches the power of… THE IRON FIST! He also gets a cool dragon motif burned onto his chest in the process.
So, where were we? Right, Danny gains the power of the Iron Fist…
Now Danny Rand has become THE Iron Fist he has the ability to channel his chi into his fist in order to do a whole host of things, such as punching really hard, healing people or opening jars with really stuck lids. Also, just to clarify, he doesn’t have an actual metal fist like Colossus or Iron Man, just an awesome, glowing, magic one.
In summary, Danny Rand has a magic hand.
Basically, he’s Bruce Lee with a hint of Doctor Strange and the bank account of Bruce Wayne.
That’s pretty much all you need to remember.
Iron Fist used to have a bit of a bromance with Power Man (aka Luke Cage), and the pair worked for a while as the Heroes for Hire, who (as the title suggests) would do the whole superhero thing in return for a bit of remuneration.
Danny was romantically involved with Misty Knight for a while, and there was a bit of tension between him and Luke Cage when Misty started seeing Luke Cage. As Misty was a recurring character in Netflix’s Luke Cage last year and will be returning in The Defenders, we may be seeing a bit of this love triangle on screen soon.
Iron Fist spent a bit of time as a member of the Avengers, and for a while even took up the role of Daredevil in order to help protect the secret identity of Matt Murdock from a suspicious press.
During the comicbook version of Civil War, Iron Fist is imprisoned for opposing the Superhero Registration Act. After becoming free again he joined Team Cap in the fight against Tony Stark’s pro-registration team.
Well there we have it, a brief(ish) summary of Marvel’s latest character to be brought to life on screen. Will all of the mystical stuff make it into the series? Who knows. I imagine we’ll be seeing a slightly toned down version of things when the series lands.
Did we miss something? Are you outraged about a particular omission or the correct English spelling of Kung fu? Maybe you’re just excited about the new Netflix series. Either way, let us know your thoughts in the comments below…